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Time Zones in France

11:22:05 am

Monday, May 10, 2021

Country: France
Long Name: French Republic
Abbreviations: FR, FRA
Capital: Paris
Time Zones: 1 (Main Country)
Total Time Zones: 13 (with dependencies)
Dial Code: +33

Time Zone Currently Being Used in France

OffsetTime Zone Abbreviation & NameExample CityCurrent Time
UTC +2CESTCentral European Summer TimeParisMon, 11:22:05 am

Country With the Most Time Zones

With its 12 standard times, France currently holds the world record for the country with the most time zones, beating even the United States and Russia, which have 11 time zones each.

The main part of the country, France métropolitaine, which lies in central Europe and includes the capital Paris, spans only 1 time zone. The remaining 11 time zones are added by France's dependencies (France d’Outre-Mer). Please see below for a complete list.

When Saint Pierre and Miquelon observes Daylight Saving Time, it even adds a 13th local time to the count.

Time Zone Not Currently Being Observed in France

OffsetTime Zone Abbreviation & NameCommences
UTC +1CETCentral European TimeOct 31, 2021

The above time zone is used during other parts of the year. It will become active again after the next clock change as Daylight Saving Time begins or ends.

Only the European part of France and the collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon use Daylight Saving Time (DST).

In the country's main part, Central European Time (CET) is used as standard time, while Central European Summer Time (CEST) is observed when DST is in force.

Time Zones Being Used in Dependencies of France

OffsetTime Zone Abbreviation & NameDependencyTypeCurrent Time
UTC -10TAHTTahiti TimeFrench PolynesiaOverseas collectivitySun, 11:22:05 pm
UTC -9:30MARTMarquesas TimeFrench PolynesiaOverseas collectivitySun, 11:52:05 pm
UTC -9GAMTGambier TimeFrench PolynesiaOverseas collectivityMon, 12:22:05 am
UTC -8EASTEaster Island Standard TimeClipperton IslandOverseas territoryMon, 1:22:05 am
UTC -4ASTAtlantic Standard TimeGuadeloupeOverseas departmentMon, 5:22:05 am
ASTAtlantic Standard TimeMartiniqueOverseas departmentMon, 5:22:05 am
ASTAtlantic Standard TimeSaint BarthélemyOverseas collectivityMon, 5:22:05 am
ASTAtlantic Standard TimeSaint MartinOverseas collectivityMon, 5:22:05 am
UTC -3GFTFrench Guiana TimeFrench GuianaOverseas departmentMon, 6:22:05 am
UTC -2PMDTPierre & Miquelon Daylight TimeSaint Pierre and MiquelonOverseas collectivityMon, 7:22:05 am
UTC +3EATEastern Africa TimeMayotteOverseas departmentMon, 12:22:05 pm
UTC +4RETReunion TimeRéunion (French)Overseas departmentMon, 1:22:05 pm
UTC +5TFTFrench Southern and Antarctic TimeFrench Southern TerritoriesOverseas territoryMon, 2:22:05 pm
UTC +11NCTNew Caledonia TimeNew CaledoniaOverseas collectivityMon, 8:22:05 pm
UTC +12WFTWallis and Futuna TimeWallis and FutunaOverseas collectivityMon, 9:22:05 pm

Of France's dependencies, only Saint Pierre and Miquelon uses Daylight Saving Time.

Time Zone History of France

In 1884, the international community adopted Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) as the world's time standard. Back then, GMT was based on solar time at the prime meridian that runs through Greenwich, United Kingdom.

However, France continued to use its own standard for several decades. It was based on solar time in Paris, so local time in France was Paris Mean Time (PMT), which was 9 minutes and 11 seconds ahead of GMT. In 1911, France turned its civil time back by precisely that amount to synchronize its clocks with GMT. However, rather than officially adopting GMT as its standard time, the country now proclaimed PMT-0:09:21 as the name of its standard time zone.

In 1978, after having advanced its standard time by 1 hour to Central European Time in 1940, France adopted today's UTC standard.

Should France Use GMT?

Today, most of the European part of France uses a time zone that does not adequately reflect the solar time on its longitude. CET is based on solar time at 15° eastern longitude, which runs along the border between Germany and Poland. CEST, France's Daylight Saving Time, refers to an even less suitable solar time, at 30° longitude, which runs close to Kyiv, Ukraine.

In terms of geography, GMT or WET, which share the same local time, should be the time zone of choice for France.

Monday, May 10, 2021